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By Ben Brasch, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga

A Fulton County Superior Court judge ruled that the county’s elections board does not have to hold hearings that could have purged more than 14,000 registered voters from county rolls.

This ruling shields thousands of voters from the risk of being purged. The ruling comes about a month before the Nov. 3 presidential election, which is expected to bring record turnout and focus heavily on election integrity.

Two Fulton citizens have been trying to force the county’s elections board to hold the hearings since early July. Feeling left with no options, they asked a court to make the board hold the hearings. Judge Jane Barwick dismissed that request Monday.

The attorney for the two men, Ray Smith, told the judge he has five bankers boxes of affidavits from people saying they are no longer registered to vote at their previous address. Smith said they want to ensure an accurate election.

David Lowman, who represented the county, said federal law prohibits Fulton officials from removing voters from the rolls so close to a federal election. Smith disagreed.

Many organizations back the county’s position: Georgia NAACP, the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, the Washington-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the New Georgia Project.

Barwick’s ruling allowed the petitioners and Smith to re-file their ask of the court. Smith was not immediately available for comment following the mostly virtual hearing.